TORCH RELAY FOLLOWS A TRAIL OF GENOCIDE
Brisbane Times, Australia
Aug 14 2007
OURE CASSONI REFUGEE CAMP, Chad: The actress Mia Farrow and fellow
campaigners have begun an Olympic-style torch relay through countries
that have suffered genocide to press China to help end abuses in the
Darfur region of its ally Sudan.
Farrow, a goodwill ambassador for UN Children’s Fund UNICEF and
outspoken critic of abuses in western Sudan, lit a torch just across
the border in Chad, almost exactly a year before the Beijing Olympics
are due to open.
"This flame represents and honours all those who have been lost, and
all those who still suffer," said Farrow as she held the symbolic
torch in Oure Cassoni refugee camp, seven kilometres from Chad’s
border with Sudan.
"This flame celebrates the courage of those who survived and represents
the hope we all share for an end to the violence, and a safe return
Human rights campaigners accuse the Sudanese Government of supporting
abuses by its armed forces and allied Arab militia known as the
Janjaweed and accuse China, Sudan’s most powerful ally and top oil
customer, of shielding Khartoum from international action.
Washington brands Darfur’s war genocide. International experts estimate
200,000 people have died in Darfur, though Sudan puts the toll much
lower at around 9000.
China hopes the Olympics will showcase its growing industrial and
economic might, and campaigners trying to exert pressure on Beijing
over alleged human rights abuses by it or its allies have seized on
the Games as a publicity opportunity.
Critics who accuse China of widespread human rights violations against
groups such as the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual group began a rival
torch relay in Athens on Friday, the day Farrow lit the Darfur torch
Organisers requested details of the controversial ceremony in Chad
be published only after they had left for Rwanda, where an estimated
800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in 1994.
The Dream for Darfur torch is also due to visit other genocide sites
in Armenia, Bosnia, Germany and Cambodia.